The business advantages of engaging in corporate social responsibilityby
The age of the Millennial is upon us, with those who were born between the early 1980s and late ‘90s entering the workforce.
Every day, articles are written to help businesses better understand Generation Y and how they like to work. As explained in a video interview with author Simon Sinek, which went viral at the end of 2016, Millennials apparently prefer to live a life of purpose and draw meaning from the work they do.
Recent worldwide research by Deloitte supports this claim, with over 87% of Millennials believing that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance.” The modern professional, it seems, comes with a conscience.
Unless you have put a hold on recruitment for the last 10 years, your business is likely to have recruited a number of young people. So, if you want to retain the talent you have, what matters to them should matter to you too. A positive way to keep Millennials happy is to think about your company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Small or large commitment
CSR could mean pledging to run your business in a sustainable way, contributing to social and environmental initiatives that also have a cost benefit for the company. This can take a lot of planning and can have an impact on a more global scale. But CSR can also be focused down to a national or regional level. For instance, at the Dallaglio Foundation, the companies that support us provide employability taster days, skills workshops and work experience for disadvantaged young people from Pupil Referral Units across the UK.
Currently companies including Halfords, Burberry, Accenture, Google and Shell have organised taster day opportunities, and in some cases full time apprenticeships for the teenagers involved in the scheme. The impact they have had has been on a local scale, but are equally important to any scheme rolled out across the globe. It comes down to improving the lives of people, and the state of the world, for the future.
The level of commitment to CSR can be small or large. No matter what you decide to do, the advantages can also go way beyond cost benefits - the impact on a company’s image is almost always positive. Alignment with a cause that supports and invests in a better future promotes your company as one to either work with or work for.
The advantages can also go way beyond cost benefits - the impact on a company’s image is almost always positive.
It also helps to engage existing staff and help them feel as though the business cares about more than its bottom line. This could include encouraging them to get involved with recycling on a daily basis, providing them with the chance to put forward suggestions about how the business could act in a more responsible way or getting them involved in fundraising for a cause.
Investing in the local community
Fundraising can have a particularly strong effect on employee engagement, which I have experienced first-hand. Every few years, we invite our supporters to join in the Dallaglio Cycle Slam - a long distance cycle event across Europe that can last up to 16 days. Halfords, one of our long-term supporters, has been behind us for every ride in the event’s history, not only through taking part in the event, but also engaging young people on the programme via its apprenticeship scheme.
The company often draws upon the connection to demonstrate its commitment to engaging with and investing in its local community. In his own words, Chairman Dennis Millard has said, “With these young people that the Dallaglio Foundation work with, there is a gap getting them into employment, and the RugbyWorks programme does just that. At Halfords we are proud to support them in achieving this through our apprenticeship programme, and it gives our staff great satisfaction helping them.”
Halfords is a perfect example of how CSR can improve not only employee engagement, but also recruitment prospects. In January 2015, Halfords Autocentres made its first staff appointment as a result of its partnership with Dallaglio Foundation. Of course, this is an example of the direct benefit of providing an apprenticeship scheme. As mentioned before, the benefit of CSR for recruitment also comes from improved reputation.
The modern professional will seek out opportunity to work for company with purpose and integrity. In fact, recent research by Charities Aid Foundation has found that one in four people say they are more inclined to apply for jobs where the firm has a good track record of supporting a charity. But as well as this, through the networking that comes as a result of engaging in CSR, there will be opportunity to not only meet people who could be a future employee or consultant to the business but also a potential client.
One in four people say they are more inclined to apply for jobs where the firm has a good track record of supporting a charity.
In conclusion, taking on corporate social responsibility can be done in a small way or a big way. Your company can pick one cause and focus all of its energy on the pursuit of a single goal. Or it could aim for the stars and look to improve its environmental footprint, employee wellbeing and fundraising effort all in one go. The point is to remember that whatever you put in, you will get back tenfold in cost savings, talent retention and improved reputation.
Rachel has always worked in the third sector. Primarily with Cancer Research UK, building and heading up their phenomenally successful 5km women's event: Race for Life. She then moved into more strategic roles before heading over to be Director of Fundraising at the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. Coming into the Dallaglio Foundation, as their...